I reviewed this clever tribute to low-budget 1950s sci=fi flicks (most notably "Invaders From Mars") some years ago. Having just watched it again, I felt compelled to write it up one more time. The people who put this charming cult classic together definitely knew what they were doing: A big city college teacher (LeMat) goes searching for his missing ex-wife in a rural Midwest town, only to discover the town is populated by what appear to be very hostile aliens (for one thing, they love blowing up cars). The professor learns the aliens took over the town in the late 1950s, with our government's permission. One of the great gags in this delightful movie is that, 25 years later, nothing has changed in the occupied town. It's still full of hayseeds and sock hops and hideous American-made monster mobiles. A tabloid journalist (Allen) joins the professor in his search, and all hell breaks loose as the aliens attempt to keep their identity a secret. The supporting cast is populated by award-winning actors like Louise Fletcher, doing a variation on her legendary Nurse Wratchet (around the same time, she also appeared in a spoofy remake of "Invaders From Mars"), and Michael Lerner, whose woebegone character has lost his wife and kids to the aliens and has been locked away in the funny farm. The movie was clearly shot on a shoestring, with poor sound quality and way too many single takes (watch the little boy at the end put his right arm around his dad for a split second before dropping it and staring off-camera at what probably was one of his real-life parents). But the film also exhibits a unique charm and features some truly unnerving moments (dig the "Evil Dead" bit when the professor's dog, now a captive of the aliens, appears to rush back and forth past the professor on a lonely road, unseen but definitely there via incredible sound effects and unusual camera work. Also, some of the other effects are extremely satisfying in their crude way, such as a series of glowing orbs that hold the captive humans and the aliens' spaceship. Plus, the story's pace never slackens. There's something going on every second of this movie; there ain't no padding. The ending is utter hokum, but intentionally so, I suspect.
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